Most NHL All-Star Game Appearances
Like many professional sports leagues, the NHL has a special game where the best players from the previous season get to play against one another. This long-held tradition is known as the NHL All-Star Game, and it is an honor for any player to be selected. Read on to learn about the players who have made the most All-Star Game appearances throughout their rich careers on the ice.
Which NHL Players Have the Most All-Star Game Appearances?
- Gordie Howe - 23 All-Star Games
- Ray Bourque - 19 All-Star Games
- Wayne Gretzky - 18 All-Star Games
- Frank Mahovlich - 15 All-Star Games
- Mark Messier - 15 All-Star Games
- Glenn Hall - 13 All-Star Games
Gordie Howe - 23 All-Star Games
From 1948 to 1980, Gordie Howe played in an astonishing 23 total All-Star Games. The NHL legend played for 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and was selected for the NHL All-Star Game 21 times for his performance with them. After initially retiring in 1971, he made a remarkable comeback two years later and began playing for the Houston Aeros and then the New England Whalers. In this new phase of his career, Howe made two more All-Star Game appearances, his 23rd and last in 1980.
Ray Bourque - 19 All-Star Games
From 1981 to 2001, Ray Bourque made 19 of the 20 All-Star Games for which he was eligible. In 1981, Bourque was selected for the First Team of the All-Star Game, the first non-goaltender to ever receive that honor for his rookie season. Between his time playing for both the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, he was selected and played another 18 times (12 First-Team, 6 Second-Team, his last at the 2001 All-Star Game).
Wayne Gretzky - 18 All-Star Games
From 1980 to 1999, all-time great Wayne Gretzky played in 18 of the 20 All-Star Games for which he was eligible. Gretzky, popularly referred to as simply “The Great One,” was a dominant force on the regulation ice, earning his first All-Star Game appearance in 1980. Over the next two decades, he was selected for every NHL team on which he played and was selected First-Team nine of those 18 times. In addition to the many records he broke during regular season and postseason play, Gretzky set several records at the All-Star Game for most points scored. The legend’s jersey number (No.99) was even retired at the 2000 edition of the honorary game following his retirement from the sport.
Frank Mahovlich - 15 All-Star Games
Left wing Frank Mahovlich is tied for the fourth-most All-Star Game appearances, with 15. During his 23-year NHL career, Mahovlich played in his first All-Star Game in 1959, then appeared in every one through 1974, with the exception of 1966. He played for five different teams during his career, capturing the Stanley Cup six times. Distinguished as a rookie with the Calder Memorial Trophy, Mahovlich went on to earn many more honors, including three NHL First All-Star Team and six NHL Second All-Star Team selections and inductions into the Hockey and Canada’s Sports Halls of Fame.
Mark Messier - 15 All-Star Games
One of the best and highest-scoring centers of all time, Mark Messier is tied with Frank Mahovlich for the fourth-most All-Star Game appearances of all time, with 15. Messier played in the NHL for an impressive 25 seasons, first appearing in the All-Star Game in 1982 and his final one in 2004. During this time, he played for the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks. He also earned four First All-Star Team Selections and one Second Team. One of the most prolific players of all time, he is third all-time in both regular-season games played and regular-season points. Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 after retiring in 2004.
Glenn Hall - 13 All-Star Games
Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Glenn Hall made 13 All-Star Game appearances. Nicknamed “Mr. Goalie,” Hall was known for developing the butterfly style of goaltending. He immediately distinguished himself in the NHL, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1956. Hall played in the NHL for 20 seasons, guarding the net for the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues. His first All-Star Game appearance was in 1955. He then played goaltender for every consecutive All-Star Game through 1969, with the exception of 1959. Hall was selected to seven First All-Star Teams and four Second All-Star Teams and won two Stanley Cups. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
Which NHL player has earned the most All-Star Game appearances?
Gordie Howe has by far earned the most All-Star Game appearances, with 23 total appearances. During his 25 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Howe was selected to the NHL All-Star Game a remarkable 21 times. Following a two-year retirement, he then returned and garnered two more selections with his final team, the New England Whalers.
Do you have to play in the All-Star Game if you are invited?
You do not have to play in the All-Star Game if you are invited. However, you will be forced to serve a one-game suspension during your next regular season game. The league cannot force players to compete in the All-Star Game; however, they have the one-game suspension in place to discourage a low level of participation like that found in the NFL’s Pro Bowl.